The Plumbing Regulations
The Plumbing Regulations 2018 were made on 2 October 2018 and are available at www.legislation.vic.gov.au. The Regulations mostly commence on 18 November 2018 except for certain provisions that commence on 18 November 2019.
The review process
Early consultation on the development of the Regulations was carried out in March 2017, which included targeted industry engagement and consultation with the Plumbing Advisory Council and its subcommittees. Input from this early consultation assisted with development of draft Regulations and a Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS).
The draft Regulations and RIS were released for public consultation between 29 June and 27 July 2018. During this period the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) received 127 submissions from a range of stakeholders, including individual practitioners, peak industry bodies, plumbing teachers, businesses carrying out fire protection work, and manufacturers of water heaters.
The Regulations were finalised taking into account all input that was provided and, where necessary, additional technical analysis on issues raised. A summary of the changes to the draft Regulations can be found in the Notice of Decision below. A summary of the issues raised by stakeholders and DELWP’s response to these issues is also available below.
As a result of the review, the Minister for Planning recommended that the Plumbing Regulations 2018 be made.
Changes from the Plumbing Regulations 2008
The Plumbing Regulations 2018 largely reflect the Plumbing Regulations 2008. The new Regulations seek to improve the quality of plumbing work, remove unnecessary burdens on the plumbing industry and further strengthen health and safety outcomes for Victorian consumers.
The key reforms include:
- requiring registered plumbers to gain two years of experience prior to being eligible for licensing, to reduce the rate of defective plumbing work
- establishing a new specialised class for the maintenance of thermostatic mixing valves to ensure practitioners have the required specialist skills for this work
- reclassifying the existing specialised classes of refrigerated air-conditioning work and Type B gasfitting work as main classes of plumbing work, to better reflect training pathways and improve administrative processes for the registration and licensing scheme
- introducing several new standards and technical work requirements including changes to laying of drains and installation of backflow prevention devices
- changes to the scope of the class of mechanical services work such that, from 18 November 2019, practitioners licensed or registered in this class will only be permitted to install and commission basic refrigerated air-conditioning systems.
Information about the changes
The Victorian Building Authority (VBA) as the plumbing industry regulator will be progressively rolling out more detailed information and guidance on the new Regulations.
Commencement of the Plumbing Regulations 2018
Most provisions in the Plumbing Regulations 2018 commence on 18 November 2018.
The exceptions to this are the following new provisions which commence on 18 November 2019:
- the creation of the new class of thermostatic mixing valve work, which will no longer be included in the main class of water supply work
- changes to the scope of the class of mechanical services work regarding single-head split systems.
DELWP has committed to investigate the following matters through a forward work program:
- continuing professional development for plumbers;
- complex plumbing, such as plumbing work in high-rise buildings;
- regulatory oversight for bathroom pods and other pre-fabricated plumbing modules;
- the registration, maintenance and testing of backflow prevention devices;
- regulation of plumbing work for caravans and houseboats; and
- a consistent regulatory approach to essential safety measures across Plumbing and Building Regulations.
DELWP will consult with stakeholders on these matters as work progresses.